First job after Graduation-what am I doing wrong?


Hello all,

briefly for me-I am just finishing my Bachelors in Architecture and I would like to work for one year before going to Masters degree. My experience so far-3 months part-time internship in a big architecture office in Europe.

I started sending portfolios to studios that I would want to work for and so far I haven't received even a single answer :( Not even a negative one, which at least would have given me so piece of mind....I am applying to a European country if this is important to mention.

So far my applications have been sent via e-mail as at the moment I don't have the chance to do it in person. 

I would really appreciate some advices form you guys, on what am I doing wrong, how long should I wait before realizing that a certain studio will never going to answer me and what should I focus on in the communication process for job hunting ( as I do not have any experience in this)? Any advice is more then welcome.

Jun 1, 14 5:32 pm

It really has a lot to do with talent but also luck and networking. A lot of my peers got jobs right after grad school because they knew someone who knew someone etc. My first job was at ADEPT in China and it was also through a colleague over a year after I graduated. I sent out hundreds of inquiries most in Chicago (which has a terrible job market). I got the job I have now by myself but that first step is always the hardest. 

All I can say is just never give up. 

Jun 2, 14 1:02 pm

The first thing to recognize is that, in this economy, finding a job can be a long (and sometimes difficult) process. You probably should not plan on instantaneous results, nor should you be too selective about where you want to work.

Having said that, you're not necessarily doing anything "wrong" per se. Frankly, you haven't told us much about what you are doing, other than sending portfolios "to studios that I would want to work for". 

If your main aim is to find a job, perhaps you should broaden your search -- if your plan is to return for grad school after a year, pretty much any work experience would be beneficial. If you can land a job at a top firm, great. But, it's probably more important to find work somewhere. 

There's no particular need to let prospective employers know that you're only going to be with them for a year -- that's a turn-off for some firms. If they ask, don't lie. But don't volunteer the information on your own.

To the extent you can, search for architectural job ads in the city (country) where you want to be - and follow up on those ads, even if they aren't with one of the firms that you prefer. To the extent you can, network with as many people as possible in that same city (country) even if it's by phone or e-mail -- you never know where personal contacts will lead.

Finally, after a decent interval, it's okay to follow-up directly with firms where you've submitted your credentials. Send them an e-mail or give them a call. Try to get through to the person who makes employment decisions -- be politely assertive and ask about where you stand in their hiring process. If they tell you they're not hiring or aren't interested in hiring you, ask them for information about other firms in the area who are hiring -- see if you can get a specific contact in any firms that they mention and approach those firms immediately.

The main thing is to not get discouraged to the point where you give up. Be persistent and something is likely to turn up.

Good luck.

Jun 2, 14 2:06 pm

1) Who do you think you are? Demanding to work for 3 months during a time that is most convenient for you? good luck!

2) I am sorry to tell you this, but you momma has been lying to you, you are not the center of attention and the world does not evolve around you. How many resumes, similar to yours (or even better), do you think a "Big architecture office in Europe" receive daily?

3) Let me guess, your demand on pay is 25 euro an hour as well huh?

My advice. Just make sure your resume, cover letter, and portfolio is at its best where any firm will even spend time looking at it.  And send those out to as many firms as possible.

post your portfolio on here why dont ya~

Goodluck young grasshopper.

Jun 2, 14 6:12 pm

Quan Nyen Tran, you are very rude to someone who came here asking for help.

Jun 2, 14 9:30 pm

the truth hurts sorry =)

Jun 2, 14 10:14 pm

Quan - before you again 'enlighten' us with the 'truth' perhaps you ought to read - and fully understand - the OP's post. This individual plans to work for a full year - not 3-months. You didn't even get through the first paragraph correctly.

Jun 2, 14 10:28 pm
Quizzical gave an excellent response; follow that advice and keep at it! Networking is the name of the game, then you need a portfolio to back it up.

Ignore the self-centered, arrogant Quan. People like that end up destroying their own career in the long. No one wants to work with "that guy."
Jun 2, 14 10:36 pm
Quizzical gave an excellent response; follow that advice and keep at it! Networking is the name of the game, then you need a portfolio to back it up.

Ignore the arrogant Quan. People like that end up destroying their own career in the long. No one wants to work with "that guy."
Jun 2, 14 10:41 pm

Awww Kyle, i thought we had a good relationship. sorry u were fired at our firm

Jun 2, 14 10:49 pm

Haha, I have no idea what you're talking about..?  I have never met you nor have I ever been fired.

Jun 2, 14 10:57 pm
The one year commitment is a pretty big turn off. I made the EXACT same mistake when I was applying prior to receiving my undergrad. And surprise, not one response from those early applications. I left that out and actually started getting responses. After a year you're finally trained and productive, firms don't want to lose you after investing that time and $$$.

Things are better now and firms have been hiring but you have to separate yourself from the pack. Highlight your skillset and frankly your dedication to what you love (hopefully) to do.

A good compromise would be to seek employment near where you'd like to go to grad school. That way you may be able to work part-time.

Best of luck
Jun 2, 14 10:59 pm

Thank you all for your comments, I really found some of them very helpful. I would go once again through my portfolio and cover letters and keep trying:). I know that it takes time and I have to be more patient ( a quality that I admit I always struggle with).

Also maybe it was not very clear from my post-I don't intend to work for 3 moths "in a time convenient for me". I am looking for 1 year full-time employment before my Masters...Also as I wrote in my post, I already worked for 3 moths in an architecture firm in Europe. Maybe I got misunderstood. 

I do appreciate critical comments, if they are giving you advices and directions. It's very sad to read so many full of hate comments like the onces from Quan Nyen Tran, having in mind that this is my first post here and I was just looking for some help and advice.

Anyway I would like to thank the others who actually helped me with and shared their experience. I wish you all good luck with your careers. And don't forget-there is a place for everyone so no hate :) cheers

Jun 3, 14 3:44 pm

Was half trolling and half trying to inspire through criticizing/judging.  You will meet plenty of "hate comments" from others, glad to see you turn it into a positive outlook.

Cheers wise young grasshopper ;o)

Jun 3, 14 6:27 pm

I've written a post you may or may not find helpful. 

Getting a Job: You need to take that shit seriously.

Jun 4, 14 4:25 pm

Thank you for your post Stephanie! I found it very helpful and well structured. I also recognized myself in many of the mistakes - (1B, 1C (travelling), 1D, 3A ( sent the same portfolio to everyone), 4B. :)

Jun 4, 14 4:47 pm

damn quan you suck!

Jun 4, 14 7:00 pm

Hahah take it easy mang. Just having a little fun trolling on the internet =).

It's what happens when you spend 8+ hours daily w/ mr. Revit.

Jun 4, 14 7:31 pm

Hi ddeess, Im pretty much in the same position like yours couple times ago! dont worry, it takes times and the first step is always the hardest.. believe me.

Jun 5, 14 9:52 am

hey edvan, thanks for the support! :) 

I know I have to be more patient...Especially because I am applying to a country without speaking well the local language ( French) and I have a feeling that employers would always prefer a local ( I hope I am wrong).

Jun 11, 14 4:14 pm

English is not my first language (Im from Indonesia), and I am applying to a country which didn't use english for their first language too (China). Yes language is a very big problem, especially for asian people like me, but then again portfolio speaks louder than the language barrier problem itself !

Jun 13, 14 3:22 am

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